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Interview with Photographer Katie Starks

I am so excited to be able to introduce you to my photographer, Katie Starks (formerly Katie Meek, she got married this summer). Katie and I have worked together on several projects, including my book, Slow Knitting. I wanted to pick Katie’s mind about how shooting yarn is different than the work she does on her blog, Cora & Louise, shooting & styling food, and how some of her tips might help you with your own yarn photography. (The photos used throughout are photos Katie took for my book).

How did you get interested in photography?

I became interested in photography after I randomly took an Intro to Photojournalism class my freshman year of college as an elective — I had no idea it would change my major, college degree & career path!

What kind of camera do you use most?

I shoot solely with a Canon 5d Mark IV — it’s my one and only!

Who are some of your photo inspirations?

I feel like I see inspiration everywhere online, in blogs, on Instagram, etc. But if I’m ever seeking out photo inspiration specifically, I always go to my favorite food blog https://www.sproutedkitchen.com/ and study the beautiful photography! Hugh Forte is the photographer for his wife, Sara’s blog & I adore his work and could get lost looking at it for hours — http://www.hughforte.com/

How do you feel that shooting yarn compares to shooting food?

It all feels very similar to me — I approach it the same way I do a beautiful cake, or any other recipe. Taking the time to find the light where it looks most beautiful, styling it in such a way that the details are highlighted, and capturing it perfectly in whatever environment! (And plenty of trial and error until you get the perfect shot; food and yarn are patient and don’t complain!)

What is your setup when shooting prop photography?

My setup is so simple it hardly feels like a setup! I have some different boards/backdrops I keep on hand, but other than that, I use whatever I have/need at home. Other than a camera and a backdrop/board, a simple reflector or white board can be helpful with adding in more light & a step stool can be helpful for getting high to shoot a clean overhead shot.

What tools do you think a photographer needs on-hand to shoot yarn well?

I think what’s great & accessible about shooting yarn (and many other props!) is that you don’t need a ton of tools or special equipment. If you have a decent camera, a clean background/surface & some good soft light, you can make a beautiful photo!

How do you know if a model is going to translate well on camera?

It honestly may be a bit hard to tell beforehand just by a photo. I always know if a person will pop on camera after I’ve seen them in action and have seen them move/pose behind the camera! Hopefully if they are comfortable being behind the camera and understand how to show off/own what they are wearing it will translate well!

What is your top tip for shooting with a model / getting a model comfortable in front of the camera?

Talk to them! The best thing you can do before you start photographing anyone, even a model, is to chat and get to know them and feel comfortable having a good conversation with them before you can make great photos of them!

When do you think it’s most important to hire a professional photographer for your business or project?

Anytime you want to elevate an idea, make your work stand out, help grow your business, make profit/revenue on a project or any/all of the above you need to enlist the help and expertise of a professional photographer! Beautiful photos speak volumes about how much you care about your business or project. We are visual humans and people notice the difference! If you have any budget or margin to work with, you won’t regret having professional images to showcase whatever it is you are working on.

Written by Hannah Thiessen, Creative Director at Knitcrate & author of Slow Knitting.

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